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Tritium Behavior Models


Investigation on Verification of Environmental Tritium Behavior Models

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Svetlova A V

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe Technik und Umwelt / Institut für Neutronenphysik und Reaktortechnik, Germany, Karlsruhe\nCEA / IPSN (Institut de Protection et Sûreté Nucléaire), France, Fontenay aux Roses\nLawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, CA, Livermore

Project summary

The proposed project is dedicated to the environment protection problem and presents a further development of ISTC projects related to the feasibility study of a thermonuclear reactor (ITER).

To assess environmental damage due to the ITER operation, it is necessary to predict tritium emission effects on the environment. A sole approach for this prediction, which eliminates the environmental pollution is a computer simulation. In the recent few years much attention has been given to the development of radionuclide environmental transfer models.

Russian Federal Nuclear Center-VNIIEF is one of the few institutions that have got a great experience in operation with large amounts of tritium. In many years of operation with tritium and its compounds unique experimental data and simulation models, which allow to predict tritium behavior in accidents, have been developed of VNIIEF.

The project aims at the development of reliable computer models for predicting tritium behavior in the environmental compartments. The investigations will be under taken in the following directions:

1. Analysis of existing mathematical models. Evaluation of the available experimental data completeness.
2. Development of missing mathematical models. Validation of these models against the experiment.
3. Experimental study of tritium interaction with environmental compartments for missing data to be obtained.
4. Elaboration of test scenarios necessary for modeling. Test scenario computation.

The Project expected results will include:

1. Gauss-type computer model of tritium transport in atmosphere accounting for:

- the nature of release instantaneous, transient and continuous;
- diffusive transfer of tritium and its oxides; turbulent transfer in the surface layer, and dispersion by atmosphere winds;
- transfer range: local, regional (up to 150 km);
- influence of the locality microrelief features, precipitation, seasonal condition including a long-term snow cover;
- calculation of the population exposure dose, and risk assessment;
- mapping the calculated results on the locality map and required arrangement of the obtained results.

2. Physical-and simulation models of tritium behavior in various media:

- conversion of tritium in the atmosphere and other gas mixtures with regard to radiation-chemical and isotopic effects;
- sorption of tritium and oxide from the atmospheric air by various materials, including construction materials and food-stuff;
- dry and wet deposition of tritium oxide from the atmosphere on to the soil and on the water surface.

3. Experimental research:

- measurement of environmental tritium migration parameters as a result of routine release of small amounts of tritium with an accuracy up to »10-11 Cu/l;
- study on physical processes of the interaction among tritium and environmental compartments, and various materials;
- investigation of physical-and chemical, radiation-chemical, and biochemical behaviors of tritium interaction with environmental compartments.

In the course of the ISTC project "Mathematical simulation of tritium circulation among soil, vegetation and atmosphere" developed mathematical models of interaction of tritium and its compositions with soil. This models will be used in the current project.

The unique feature of the proposed approach is that:

- models will be developed and improved on the basis of the available in VNDDEF and newly obtained experimental information;
- it implements an integrated tritium dispersion modeling from release event to die exposure dose and population risk assessment.

The execution of the project will make it possible to involve 33 highly skilled nuclear weapons designers into defense-conversion activity connected with environmental protection. The Project staff members will include 14 specialists with scientific degree.


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